Paynesville woman, 90, started following team closely back in 1961
By Scott Thoma
Donning earrings, tennis shoes, scarf and a shirt all with the logo of the Minnesota Twins, Carol Wegner leads a reporter into an office in her home outside of Paynesville that looks more like a miniature Twins museum.
Looking much younger than her age, Wegner, 90, has been a fan of the Twins for as long as she can remember.
Her passion for baseball came while she was attending country school near Corcoran, 22 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
“We would always gobble down our food so we could go outside and play ball,” she said. “We had a 15-minute recess in the morning and a 15-minute recess in the afternoon and we would usually play baseball or softball. I didn’t really know any other sports that much, so I became a fan of baseball.”
When the Washington Senators moved its Major League Baseball franchise to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961, Wegner became a fan.
Over the years, Wegner has accumulated enough Twins merchandise to start a store.
“Most of the things I have were given to me as gifts,” she said. “I’ve bought a few things myself, but I keep getting different gifts all the time.”
As Wegner reveals a digital album of photos, she points out numerous shots of her opening presents at Christmas, her birthday and Mother’s Day. Nearly all of them include some type of a Twins item.
“I have no idea how many things I have,” she said, while scanning the room. “A lot!”
Among the familiar items in Wegner’s collection are autographed photos, baseball caps, bobbleheads and baseballs.
Some of the other Twins items in her collection include a box of cookies, potholder mittens, an apron, facial tissues, tagboard fans with players’ faces on them, bottles of Killebrew Root Beer, a Frisbee, a puzzle, a bar of soap and much, much more.
The personable Wegner even has emojis of herself dressed in Twins colors and gear on her Facebook page.
Wegner attends a few games each summer with her sons or daughters. Over the years, she has watched games at Metropolitan Stadium, The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and Target Field. Mostly, though, she now watches games on television or listens to them on the radio.
“I remember the first game I went to at the old Met Stadium,” she said. “Camilo Pascual was pitching that day. My husband bought me a radio and would listen to the games all the time with Ray Scott doing play-by-play and Halsey Hall the color commentator.”
Last year was a trying season for diehard fans such as Wegner as the pandemic reduced the number of games to 60 with fans not in attendance.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Wegner and her daughter Vicki Jenniges went to Florida on a bus tour that included seven Twins spring training games.
“After we went to the third game, the rest of the games were cancelled because of COVID,” she said. “We did some other things in Florida, though, for the rest of the trip.”
The most memorable Twins game Wegner attended had nothing to do with a game-winning home run in the ninth inning or a no-hitter.
“I went to a game at Target Field three years ago with a church group,” she revealed. “It started to rain in the fourth inning and the game was delayed. I thought it was interesting to watch how they tried to keep the field dry. The game started again and then it started to rain again in the eighth inning. I didn’t get back home until 4:15 in the morning. When I walked in the door, my dog looked at me like he was wondering where I had been all that time.”
Wegner keeps abreast of the various players on the Twins’ team and even familiarizes herself with each of the players’ backgrounds.
When asked who her favorite all-time Twins player is, she struggled to name just one.
“There are so many that I have liked over the years,” she said. “It’s too hard to name just one.”
So, just how much of a Twins fan is she really?
“She even has the Twins emblem painted on her toenails,” said her daughter Jean Liestman.